William D. Richards Jr., Software Award (Biennial)

The William D. Richards, Jr. Software Award is a "lifetime achievement award" to honor individuals who have created publically available social network analysis software without which it would be impossible to study social networks. Named in honor of former INSNA President Bill Richards, the award is a biennial prize that alternates with the Freeman Award. The honoree(s) receive $2,500 for expenses to attend Sunbelt and have his/her name(s) engraved on a plaque with past honorees. The award has three purposes: it recognizes breakthrough thinking in developing social network analysis software that becomes highly valued by the scholarly community; it acknowledges the longevity of the software, as its functionality evolves in close correspondence with changes in the field of social network analysis; and, finally, it honors the dedication of the scholars in providing this service to the community.

 

2013 Award – Vladimir Batagelj and Andrej Mrvar

The winners of the INSNA's 2013 William D. Richards Software award are Vladimir Batagelj and Andrej Mrvar for Pajek: Program for Large Network Analysis.

The award recognizes software developers without whom we would not have the tools we need to undertake our work. This year the award highlights the breakthrough thinking behind Pajek. Pajek allowed us to visualize and explore large complex data and was the first software for networks with this design principle in mind. It employed innovative techniques developed by its creators to uncover hidden features in large complex networks. In its development process, Professors Batagelj and Mrvar began adding more and more analytical routines backed up by their expertise in combinatorial optimization together with tools to import data from other packages. As for longevity, Pajek started in 1996 and was initially started to support Andrej’s PhD thesis. It has been updated and extended regularly since its release. The award recognizes the service to the community provided by the scholars. Pajek is free to the academic community and Vlado and Andrej have been giving workshops on Pajek at Sunbelt conferences and other venues since the software was launched. They worked with Wouter de Nooy to provide a textbook and have answered endless queries both on line and in person of the nature “In Pajek How do I…….?”. We are all grateful for the work they have done and this award rightfully recognizes their achievement and their contributions.

 

2011 Award - Stephen P. Borgatti, Martin G. Everett & Linton C. Freeman

The winners of the INSNA's 2011 William D. Richards Software award are Stephen P. Borgatti, Martin G. Everett and Linton C. Freeman for UCINET: Software for Social Network Analysis.

UCINET is the most widely used network analysis software. According to Google Scholar there were 2,671 citations to the various forms of UCINET. It has made the teaching of network analysis easier in that one can work through a single dataset to demonstrate the differences in the ever growing number of measures of network properties. It is venerable and has been maintained and upgraded from CLI DOS to CGI Windows. Over the years, UCINET has had many significant and useful additions integrated into the package, such as Netdraw. Finally, UCINET is user friendly as are its developers. There is a detailed and informative help menu embedded in the software. Over the years, they have provided numerous workshops on how to use the software at the Sunbelt conference and throughout North America and Europe. Further, Steve, Martin, and Lin are always responsive to questions about how to use particular applications and the specific interpretation of the wide variety of available results.

 

2009 Award - William D. Richards, Jr. and Andrew Seary

The winners of the INSNA's 2009 William D. Richards Software award are Bill Richards and Andrew Seary for Negopy and MultiNet/Negopy.

Negopy and now MultiNet/Negopy are the software products that symbolize and embody the breakthrough qualities of the career work by Bill Richards and Andrew Seary over decades of collaboration drawing on the disciplines of Communication, Computer Science, Sociology and Physics. Although Bill is now deceased the work continues under Andrew's leadership and hard work. Negopy was developed in the 1970's in the time of main frame computers, punch cards and over-night turn around. This was the breakthrough time of the shift from paper and pencil data analysis to a digital life style of programs, algorithms or analytics which we live in today. Bill was a Computer Science major and an art minor wandering the halls of the Communication Department on Michigan State University thinking about a second minor when one day his curiosity was aroused by a group of people in a room, some kneeling on the floor huddled over a paper spreadsheet calling out numbers to others standing against a wall writing in numbers on another wall of paper. This looked rather odd to Bill and his curiosity caused him to stop, poke his head in and ask, what on earth were they doing? This was the spark of breakthrough thinking, beginning with curiosity in others work, which would result in Negopy a computer program designed to replace the human manual labor of permuting matrices. Such, curiosity did not stop there but continued throughout Bill's life. After Negopy he developed FATCAT, a program for "thick description" of networks, then this evolved into MultiNet/Negopy which continues to be actively updated today with Bill's decades long programming partner, Andrew Seary. This award also acknowledges the evolutionary development of software as the field itself develops. Negopy was initially developed in the 1970s, but Bill continued to work on it and ported it to the PC when this platform became popular among network researchers and expanded its capacity from a few hundred nodes to 10s of thousands. As PC capabilities grew and with it the desires of the community for high powered tools, Negopy swiftly cut new paths to meeting these desires with new versions. As exponential graph modeling became widely practiced in the field, Bill and Andrew were quick to add this p* feature to the MultiNet software suite. Today, Andrew Seary has continued that work and has embedded Negopy into MultiNet. Finally, their dedication has been evidenced in the work described already but also in the relentless enthusiasm in communicating the availability of the tools, in making them easily available, in teaching others how to use them, answering users questions, and in innumerable ways keeping focused in the tumult of science.

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